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Marine insurers look to Asia as IUMI 2016 conference opens

Marine insurers look to Asia as IUMI 2016 conference opens
There was a distinctly Asian flavour to the opening session of the International Union of Marine Insurance (IUMI) annual conference in Genoa this week, which attracted some 600 delegates from IUMI’s 46 national association members.

Emerging Asian economies are predicted to show an average GDP annual growth rate of 5.7% over the next 10 years, announced IUMI president Dieter Berg in his opening address, compared to only 2.9% for North America, 2.5% for South America, 2.4% for Eastern Europe, and 1.6% for Western Europe.

Hamburg-based IUMI’s strategy will therefore include creating an “Asian hub”, he said, to which end Mike Davies of XL Caitlin Singapore has been appointed to the new role of Special Envoy to Asia, joining representatives from Hong Kong and Japan on IUMI’s Executive Committee.

The move follows the Shanghai Institute of Marine Insurance (SIMI) having joined IUMI last year, replacing company member China Pacific, while next year’s 143rd IUMI annual conference is to take place in Tokyo.

Meanwhile, longtime IUMI member the Hong Kong Federation of Insurers (HKFI) took centre stage during the opening session when it handed over a generous donation of EUR100,000 in seed funding to kick-start IUMI’s Educational Fund first announced last year.

Attracting new talent is essential to ensure we stay relevant for the good of global trade and the world economy,” said HKFI chief executive Peter Tam during the cheque presentation ceremony (pictured). ”IUMI has already made a great start with its successful series of webinars and we look forward to seeing an expanded programme of activities within a robust framework to continue the momentum.”

Global marine underwriting premiums reached $29.9bn in 2015 - a 10.5% reduction on 2014 due mainly to reduced fleet values - of which 27.1% came from Asia, a share that IUMI said it “expected to increase in the future”.

Berg identified four main areas of challenges facing marine insurers: the difficult economic and financial scenario; emergence of new areas of risk such as cyber security and ever larger and more costly new vessels like ultra large containerships and cruiseships; the need to adapt to technological innovation; and rapid changes in the regulatory framework.